The Q&A Archives: Growing Dephinium

Questioner's Location: Vista, CA
Date: February 6, 2000

Question: I am interested in growing delphinium this year and am unsure whether is will be suited to the climate of Southern California; I live in Vista, which is between the coast and inland valleys of Southern California. I have bought a few packets of seeds (I can't remember which kinds) and am unsure how to start them properly as seeds. Do you have any advice? Will they grow in my area?

Answer: Delphiniums are perennial plants, but in your gardening region they're generally treated as annuals. You can sow seeds in March or April for bloom in late summer. The plants may come back the next spring, but if they don't, you can sow new seeds for late summer bloom.

If you want to start the seeds indoors, begin the process now. Otherwise, sow outdoors in March. Delphinium seeds require a 2 week chill prior to germination. Place the seeds in a plastic bag with some moistened growing medium and refrigerate for two weeks. Then sow on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and just cover with additional soil. Seeds should sprout in 14-28 days when kept at 50F-55F.

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